Dr. Shivani

An Ayurvedic Practitioner and Consultant with a specialization in Panchkarma. My goal is to design an individual treatment plan to help each patient to achieve the best outcome possible. In my free time, I like singing and learning new things.

Women these days are dependent upon birth control options to prevent pregnancy. Birth control methods can do many wonderful things like improving your skin or regulating females’ periods. Many couples adopt it to enjoy more freedom in their sex lives. The ability to enjoy sex without worrying about an unplanned pregnancy is a great thing, but it’s not the only effect that birth control can have on your sex life.

It can impact negatively as well. There are too many factors you should take into account while choosing a birth control option. Hormonal birth control, in particular, can vary in terms of side effects as you are introducing artificial hormones into your body.

A separate study, done at Washington University School of Medicine and published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, asked 2,000 women about their interest in sex when starting a contraceptive and six months after taking contraceptives. Nearly one in four women using a vaginal ring, contraceptive implant, or progestin injections reported a lower sex drive at the end of the study than those who used a copper IUD (intrauterine device).

Understanding hormonal changes in your body while using birth control methods

Any hormonal contraceptive can impact your libido. Choosing a type of hormonal birth control is highly personal, and each product can affect a woman’s body differently. You should monitor the effect of the birth control option you are using to ensure that it is suitable for your body.

If you are experiencing a decreased libido because of the birth control option you chose, you may need to consider a different option. If you are taking an oral contraceptive that negatively affects your sex drive, you can switch to another option. Please note, the hormone levels vary in different brands of oral contraceptives.

It is also important that changes in your libido can result from many external factors and cannot be solely attributed to hormonal changes. There are many types of hormonal birth control, including:

1. Oral Contraceptives
2. Contraceptive Ring
3. Birth Control Shot
4. Birth Control Implant

What should you keep in mind while choosing Birth Control methods?

A person may get affected positively or negatively by using a birth control method. Before you settle on one form of contraception, consider all the types of birth control and their facts. You can consult your doctor on the following points to find the option that works best for you. 

  1. The levels of circulating hormones and sensitivity to change these levels
  2. The type and levels of hormones in the birth control
  3. The impacts of the birth control method on the body’s hormones (does it suppress ovulation?)
  4. Cultural expectations for sex and sexual pleasure
  5. Thoughts and feelings towards the positive as well as negative side effects of birth control
  6. The couple’s feelings on the risks of engaging in sex without using birth control like unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, etc. 

What should you keep in mind while choosing Birth Control methods?

Do all birth control methods operate in the same way?

The working pattern of all the birth control options is not the same. This is the reason why they have different levels of impacting the sexual drive of a woman. It’s possible that hormonal IUDs can also decrease your sex drive, but the evidence is not as conclusive as it is with the birth control pill. As compared to contraceptive pills, IUDs do not have estrogen-mimicking hormones. That’s why they don’t trigger the liver to produce testosterone-binding globulin.

Without birth control, your body naturally ovulates once a month, which is when your sex drive is at its highest. This is purely evolutionary to have a higher sex drive when you’re at the most fertile yield, which will produce the best results for procreation. “IUDs suppress ovulation for most women in the first year of use,” according to Ava’s cycle-tracking product. Thus, without ovulation, there is no natural increase in sex drive. Therefore, apart from containing testosterone-like hormonal IUDs, you can use progestin-based IUDs as your birth control option. 

Does all birth control affect your “hormonal rhythms”? 

When you choose any birth control method, your normal hormonal levels are disturbed by reducing the function of your hormone receptors. As a result, it lowers the response to the male hormone “testosterone.”

Not only that, but birth control methods can reduce your sexual mood or libido at best and trigger depression at worst. These two things can then impact your sex drive. When it comes to choosing birth control methods that likely won’t affect your sex drive are copper IUDs, condoms, and the rhythm method. However, each method comes with a different set of cautions.

“The copper IUD has no hormones in it, so clinically it should not have any impact on sexual desire or libido, but it’s not scientifically tested and proved.” It may be possible that the copper IUD can alter vaginal sensations due to its inflammatory nature. 

Condoms and diaphragms might be the best options if you want birth control that won’t affect your sex drive. However, planned parenthood methods, condoms, and diaphragms are only 80% – 85% effective, respectively.

What to do if you lose sexual interest?

If you believe your birth control method is affecting your libido, you can take action to address the situation. First, have a conversation with your gynecologist or the healthcare provider who prescribes your birth control pills. The two of you can work together on a plan to restore your sexual interest that might include:

  1. Measuring your serum androgen levels and supplementing them, if appropriate
  2. Switching to a different type of birth control pill
  3. Switching from birth control pills to a different kind of contraception, such as an IUD

What to do if you lose sexual interest?

Choosing the best birth control method for you

To prevent a birth control method’s side effects, you need to select one that is best for you. Choosing your type of birth control method to use can be very confusing for couples, as from birth control pills to birth control implants, there are many options. It may help you to start by answering a few basic questions:

  1. How important do you feel to be protected from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)? Because not all birth control methods give protection against STDs.
  2. How effective do you feel your birth control method should be? Because all birth control methods are different from each other. 
  3. How much convenience and cost matters in choosing your birth control option? Or Do you have a minimum or maximum amount of money for your birth control option?
  4. Does your sexual pleasure allow you to take your decision in selecting a birth control method? Alternatively, do you want birth control that enhances your sex life or libido?

While abstinence (absence of sexual intercourse) is the only 100% effective birth control method, other methods can be effective when choosing and used correctly.

What is natural family planning?

All birth control methods are not associated with a device, medication, or procedure. Natural family planning, or fertility awareness, involves timing your sexual activity to avoid a woman’s most fertile time. By understanding when a woman is most abundant, a couple can avoid pregnancy. 

A woman is likely to get pregnant if she has unprotected sex during the five days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and one or two days after ovulation. There are a few different methods that can be used to predict when you will ovulate. Measuring basal body temperature and monitoring cervical mucus are the ways to determine when a woman will ovulate. The calendar method is also helpful in tracking your cycles on a calendar. Moreover, your health care professional can train you in the safest way to use this method correctly. 

How effective is natural family planning?

As compared to contraceptive birth control methods, natural family planning is 76% effective. The most important reason for choosing natural family planning is that they are inexpensive and drug-free. Natural family planning also has some drawbacks, such as it doesn’t provide STD protection, and its effective rate is also low compared to contraceptive birth control options.

Infographic

Please find below the infographic on “How does the birth control option affect sex drive and sexual desire?”

Feel free to use this infographic but make sure to cite us at www.healthybazar.com.

How does the Birth Control Option Affect Sex Drive and Sexual Desire?

Conclusion

Choosing a birth control method isn’t a lifelong commitment. Even if you decide to use the implant or an IUD, you can stop using them compared to your convenience. If you’re otherwise happy with your method, then you may want to consider other things going on in your life, such as stress or your relationship with your partner, maybe causing your changes in sexual function as opposed to your birth control. 

If you’re new to starting a method, you could consider waiting a few months to see if your body adjusts to your new method or not. However, it’s 100% your decision as to when to stop using a method. You don’t have to wait to change methods if you don’t want to. 

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